Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Home made ketchup (catsup..? ketchup..?) recipe. Serious yum (and healthy!)

Actually, it's different names for the same thing. Home made ketchup is a wonderful thing. It doesn't take long to make, it's delicious and you get to control how much salt and sugar goes into it and hey, no worries about that high fructose corn syrup everyone is so worried about. Best of all, if you have  a little one old enough to help stir the pot. They love to help stir..

Recently we were given whole a box of tomatoes. When I say a box. I mean, like a case of them. It was intense. There were so many of them we didn't even know what to do with them (ah, the joys of late summer), So, there was a mad rush to roast off as many as we could, sauce making and salad eating. Which hardly seemed to make a dent. I ended up freezing a bunch of the roasted tomatoes but not after using a bunch of them (and some fresh ones) to make some ketchup.
   Having 2 small kids means we go through a lot of.. well condiments in general.. But they do eat a lot of ketchup so when we were running low and I had an abundance of produce, why not try making some?!

I looked up a few different recipes online but it's all a pretty basic method. Here's what I used:

Roasted and raw tomatoes-probably about 8-10 (you could use canned tomatoes)- I didn't peel them or anything I just threw them in. you might want to cut them up or squish them a bit first.
1 small onion, diced (really really small)
1 red pepper, diced (really really small)
2 cloves garlic, diced
 vinegar to taste (about 1/2 cup- white or cider, use what you have)
sugar to taste (I used about 2 tblsp)
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste (1-2 tblsp)
pinch (1/2 tsp each) ground cloves, nutmeg and Cinnamon  (most recipes called for allspice. I don't have allspice.)
 corn starch and water to thicken (optional)

Some recipes include molasses some don't. I'm all about using what is on hand, I'm not about to go out and buy something just for one recipe. Especially in cases like allspice and molasses, which I'm not likely to use again for a long long time. 

What I did:
cook the onions on med/low until soft. add in garlic and red pepper, Cook until red pepper is soft. Add tomatoes and seasonings, and let the whole thing simmer for a long time. I did mine for about 45 minutes, stirring quite often to keep it from burning. 

If you have a blender (immersion blender-even better) you'll want to toss the whole mess in the blender until smooth and cook it down a bit more to reduce. Which should leave it thick enough.

I don't have a blender, so I processed mine through a food mill a few times then added some corn starch and water (just follow the box directions) to thicken it a bit. It's got bits of skin and onion in it still. I quite like it that way. 
When it cooled, I just tossed it in our empty, washed out ketchup bottle.

There you have it, home made ketchup. I encourage you all to give it a try next time your drowning in extra tomatoes. It's well worth the bit of work. I also recommend roasting your tomatoes first. It sweetens them up so much (yay adding less sugar) and gives it all a lovely taste.

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